A couple of years ago, in 2016 I read some interesting posts on Helen Hollick’s blog Let us Talk of Many Things
She interviewed characters from other writer’s books – see the full list here
What an interesting idea this was. You can learn a lot from questioning your characters – putting them in an unusual situation or asking them to explain themselves. I decided to have a go.
I sat Byrhtnoth down with a horn of mead to get him relaxed, but everything got out of hand, so I abandoned the interview until the next day. This explains some of the grumpy responses.
Q : Would you like to introduce yourself – who you are, what you do?
A : My name is Byrhtnoth. I am a warrior – at least that is what I was trained for. I did something very bad. I don’t know what I am now.
Q : Where and when are you? Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
A : At the moment I am living in a small village in the English fens, near Ely. It is the year 946 or thereabouts. I am a real historical person – my author says they wrote a poem about my glorious death in battle that is still sung by the scops in your time.
Q : In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
A : It’s all about me. My mother died when I was young, I don’t really remember her. I was sent to the King’s court to train as a warrior – that would be King Athelstan, grandson of King Alfred who you call “The Great”. I grew up with the other boys. Some became my friends. Others I thought were friends, are not. I am sixteen now, a man. I have killed Viking raiders and rescued women – the usual things warriors do. And I am searching for a sword – it belonged to my father. I need to discover if he still lives
Q : How did your author meet up with you?
A : I was very crafty. She had no idea what she was doing, searching for a subject to write about. I dropped her a few subtle hints and before she knew it, she was hooked.
Q : Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you – husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one?
A : As I mentioned above, I am an orphan. No wife, not even a girlfriend, although there is this girl I really fancy.
My best friend is Wulfstan, we meet right at the start of the book. I have to look after him, he is smaller than me and nasty things happen to him – he’s much brighter than me, but don’t tell him I said so!
Elfhere was another boy in our gang. Very friendly to start with, but he changes. He’s a bit posh – he has relatives, unlike the rest of us. He is good at fighting, but not as good as me. I’m the best. You’ll have to wait until the end of the book to find out what happens to him.
Q : What is your favourite scene in the book?
A : That has to be the scene when I discover a relative. It’s good to have friends, but suddenly to find family, after thinking you are alone in the world…
Q : What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
A : I was alone and injured; lost in a dark forest. Death seemed certain. I don’t remember much about it, but I’m sure there were monsters in the darkness.
My author decided my life was too easy – she really laid on the misery!
Q : What are you most proud of about your author?
A : She’s not bad for a woman. She does what I tell her to, even if she does think the ideas are hers. Sometimes she suspects I’m in charge, but I tell her how brilliant she is and she soon calms down.
Q : Has your author written other books about you? If not, about other characters?
How do you feel about your author going off with someone else!
A : This is my author’s first book. She has started planning a second one about me, perhaps it will be a trilogy. I’m still young and apparently I have a long life before that glorious death. How many books has that Bernard Cornwall chap written about Uhtred? His character got onto television (whatever that is) as well. Uhtred is getting old – it’s time for a younger, better looking Anglo-Saxon warrior.
I sometimes catch my author thinking about someone else. A pirate called Jack (not that one!). He’s probably a Viking and we know what to do with those, don’t we?
Q : As a character if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting where and when would you go?
A : It would be interesting to go back and find out more about those Romans who left so many ruins scattered around the land. They must have been giants.
I think though that I’d better jump ahead eight hundred years and get rid of that pirate chap – don’t want him distracting my author.
If we’ve finished now, can you pass the mead?
Look out for interviews with some of my other characters. Perhaps even Jack!
(Not if I have anything to do with it! – Byrhtnoth)